After all the demographic slicing and dicing, the final primary figures disclose one New Hampshire result pundits are ignoring: The only two candidates who unequivocally want to take us of out of Afghanistan and most of the Middle East muddle now, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, together received 39.8 percent of the vote to Mitt Romney’s 39.6 percent.
In contrast, Rick Perry, who advocates going back into Iraq, got one percent as superhawks Santorum and Gingrich drew single figures.
Granted, the contest was about the economy, but both Paul and Huntsman kept pointing out that trillions being wasted on nation-building in the Middle East, to say nothing of the continuing human toll, could be better spent back home rebuilding America.
In his victory lap, Mitt Romney, having it both ways as usual, promises jobs to veterans when they come home but avoids taking any position on bringing them back, settling for jingo clichés about American power.
In the GOP fantasy world of 2012, the horse race will go on, but won’t change, as a New York Times editorial points out:
”The candidates’ economic arguments were disturbingly disconnected from economic reality. They spoke of government spending as if it were the sole cause of the federal budget deficit and cutting it the sole solution. In reality, it was tax cuts for the wealthy, an assault on social programs and a deregulatory zeal that allowed a recklessness that led to near economic collapse.
“The solution is policies that promote growth and help the middle class, not what the Republican hopefuls want. Mr. Obama said it well on Monday night: ‘We can’t go back to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics.’ You couldn’t tell that by listening to Mr. Romney prattle about a merit-based economy and call for lowering taxes and cutting spending.”
To say nothing of completely ignoring the Middle East elephant in the room, unless Ron Paul or Jon Huntsman manages to get the Presidential nomination.